Mince is an eternally handy ingredient. It doesn’t matter if it’s minced beef, lamb, chicken, turkey or a vegetarian alternative – mince is a kitchen staple that can easily be turned into a pasta sauce, a pie filling, a shepherd’s pie, a lasagne, a moussaka, meatballs, burger patties, a cottage pie… For me, it’s usually beef mince (although I love me some lamb mince for a lasagne or shepherd’s pie…) that has permanent residence in my freezer. I tend to buy a large quantity of beef mince and freeze it in 250g portions so there’s always some on hand. If I forget to take it out to defrost in the fridge, beef mince defrosts pretty well in the microwave as long as you keep an eye on it so you don’t end up with chewy, cooked bits!

But after a year of lockdown, I was starting to feel like I was making the same recipes over and over again with beef mince. So it was a nice surprise when Mum let me know she was going to send me an easy beef mince recipe. When she emailed it over, I did raise an eyebrow at the six cloves of garlic – and I write that as someone who always throws in more garlic than the recipe recommends – but I diligently threw in all six cloves of chopped garlicky goodness.

As ever, I was unable to leave the recipe alone and I added a few little extras. The result is a quick, easy, flavoursome meal that keeps well, freezes well, and tastes even better the next day. In Mum’s recipe, she said the egg on top is optional. Lately, I’ve been baking eggs into cute little rectangular shapes for serving in sausage and egg butties – and I did the same for this one.

Feel free to give this a go with different types of mince, whether it’s meat or vegetarian.

Spicy beef with rice


6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, diced

One red pepper, chopped into small pieces

4 tablespoons sesame oil

500g beef mince

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon caster sugar

One fried or baked egg per serve

1 tablespoon ground ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Basil leaves to taste


  1. Prepare the garlic, onion and red pepper.
  2. Heat a large pan, pot or wok and add the sesame oil.
  3. Stir-fry the onion, garlic and capsicum for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the mince and cook for about five minutes or until it has browned.
  5. Add the sauces, sugar, ginger, salt and pepper and stir through.
  6. Remove from heat, add the basil leaves and let them wilt in the pot.
  7. This can be served with a fried or baked egg on top of each serving. The eggs can be fried while you’re cooking the mince but I find it easier to pop the eggs in the oven – I use little rectangular mini loaf tins made of silicon but Yorkshire pudding tins or cupcake/muffin tins work well too.
  8. Serve with steamed or fried rice.

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